An extra 29 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) will be working in schools across Donegal when the new school year starts, it has been announced.

Donegal TD Joe McHugh said: “More and more children with special educational needs are learning and taking an active part in our schools in Donegal.

“Ensuring the funding is there to provide for additional Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) helps these children to participate more fully in school life.

“This increase in the number of SNAs in Donegal is an investment in our children.

“It shows the priority that this Fine Gael Government places on helping children to fulfil their potential. And I want to pay tribute to the outstanding work that SNAs do and the lasting difference that they make to children’s lives."

Minister McHugh added: “The role that SNAs play in schools is of huge benefit to mothers and fathers up and down the country and they help give youngsters that extra support that will hopefully improve their lives in the long run.

“Making this announcement in May is fulfilling a commitment that was made by the Fine Gael Government last year. It gives SNAs, school principals and mothers and fathers the assurance they need before the school year ends.

“I want to thank my cabinet colleague Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton for making it such a priority.

“Extra roles like these will help to ensure that a child who needs additional support and engagement in school in Donegal gets it.”

With this new allocation a total of 731 SNAs will be working in Donegal schools – 466 in primary schools, 208 in post-primary and 57 in special schools.

More than 15,000 SNAs will be working nationwide in schools come September - a 42% increase on the figures in 2011 when the number stood at 10,575.

The Government now invests €524m in SNAs annually, as part of a total €1.75 billion investment in special educational needs overall.

The NCSE will now proceed to notify schools of their Special Needs Assistants allocations for the coming 2018/19 school year and will publish details of these allocations on their website www.ncse.ie.

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